Thursday, May 12, 2005

Margaret Cho hopes her political humor can turn a few red staters blue.

She just has a different way of going about it.

“Now we have a color-coded map to where all the stupid people are,” she tells audiences on her current “Assassin” comedy tour about the red/blue cultural divide.

Those attending Miss Cho’s performances at the Warner Theatre this weekend (placing Miss Cho near the administration she takes such pains to provoke) will likely get a double dose of her views — often spiked with vitriol and sometimes conflicted — on the topic.

The performances will also be taped by Here!, a cable network specializing in homosexual and lesbian programming. It will air in September.

Miss Cho’s act has evolved since her early days in stand-up which began at age 16. Where her routine once focused on her own personal demons — the comedienne battled alcoholism and depression — it now zeroes in on political causes.

“I’m talking a lot about topical things affecting the world … things I want to change,” says Miss Cho, 36, while ticking off a list of her key concerns: homosexual “marriage,” abortion rights and equal rights in general.

“To make that happen is very mature,” she says. “I’m going about it in a very immature way.”

In the world according to Margaret Cho, the verbal battles were started by conservatives. She’s only following their lead.

“It’s all about mudslinging and name calling … feeling free to be as immature and unforgiving as the right wing,” she says. “The main fault with Democrats is that we’re incredibly dignified and reserved and serious about our politics.”

(Al Franken and Michael Moore ? dignified, reserved and serious?)

Miss Cho says she wants her stand-up routine to yield converts, those who will be inspired to embrace her point of view. Yet she doesn’t seem hopeful about those who don’t share her mind-set.

“If they’re on the fence about something like gay marriage, then I don’t give a [expletive] about them. They’re too stupid to be changed,” she says in a voice that’s surprisingly sweet and fragile.

Miss Cho, who once starred in the failed ABC sitcom “All-American Girl,” is a walking compendium of special interest groups: an Asian female who flirted with the lesbian lifestyle a few years back before her marriage to artist Al Ridenour two years ago.

Her fans know her background — and even better — applaud her tenacity at overcoming life’s obstacles.

Meanwhile, Miss Cho’s zeal as a staunch advocate of the homosexual community borders on religious fervor. Even liberal comics consider her views to be more left-leaning than those of Jon Stewart and Chris Rock.

Not surprisingly, she’s attracted her share of critics, from conservative adversaries to die-hard supporters. A few fans have chastised Miss Cho for getting married and for shedding weight within the last few years.

“It’s a little strange,” she says. “They really want me to tell them the truth in whatever they perceive it to be. Being thin or being married doesn’t really jibe with their whole idea of my truth, but what I present on stage is one aspect of what I am.”

Miss Cho doesn’t plan to star in another sitcom — at least not in the foreseeable future (despite a memorable turn as a profane fashion commentator on HBO’s “Sex and the City” in 2001). But her latest film project, “Bam Bam and Celeste,” left her craving more work on the big screen.

The feature, which recently wrapped but has no distributor, is a road comedy with Miss Cho as a woman who reunites with a homosexual pal to seek revenge against their high school nemesis.

“I really felt very much at home [in] that role,” says Miss Cho, who not only stars in the film but also served as producer and penned the script. “It felt very natural.”

What doesn’t work for her, though, is testing potential jokes out in front of friends and family.

“The people in your life don’t want to be your sound board,” she says. “It’s a quick way to lose friends.”

WHAT: Margaret Cho

WHERE: Warner Theatre, 13th and E streets NW

WHEN: Tonight at 8 and tomorrow evening at 7:30 and 10.

TICKETS: $29.50 to $45

INFORMATION: 202/783-4000. On the Web:

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